Investment in the wind energy sector dropped 58%, or €265m, last year because of instability in the renewable energy sector.

The Irish Wind Energy Association said red tape and uncertainty is significantly hampering job creation and investment in the renewable energy sector.

Speaking on the opening day of the association's annual conference in Dublin, IWEA Chief Executive Dr Michael Walsh said that excess bureaucracy and unnecessary risk was driving investors away from what should be a thriving market.

‘Investors are lined up and ready to go but the framework for investment is simply too volatile,' said Dr Walsh.

‘Many rules and processes are under review and there is no overall co-ordination of the consents needed to make an investment in renewable energy in Ireland.

‘Investors are being asked to make substantial financial commitments in advance of clarity on the regulations that will apply in the future. International financial providers are still interested in Ireland but they will no longer accept this level of uncertainty,’ said Dr Walsh.

The conference was due to be addressed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte.